Keeping safe from fire in your flat
Despite the difficult situation with coronavirus, we’re continuing to do everything we can to keep people who live in council buildings safe.
We’re continuing with our ongoing programme to test all fire safety systems, to make sure that all emergency exit routes are protected and kept free of obstructions and any combustible material.
You can help us to keep you and your neighbours safe by making sure that you, or any visitors, don’t:
- store personal items in the communal areas of the block
- smoke in the communal areas
- bring highly flammable items such as motorbikes, petrol cans, gas cylinders into communal areas
You should also regularly test your heat and smoke alarms and make sure that the hallways leading to your front doors are clear of obstructions.
As the weather gets warmer, we’re also asking you not to have barbeques on your balcony at this time.
- Fire safety at home
- Home fire safety visits
- Never tackle a fire yourself
- Our commitment
- Fire risk assessments
- An example of a fire risk assessment
- Summary fire risk assessments
- Fire Risk Assessment Review
- Fire risk assessments by ward
Fire safety at home
Most fires in the home can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions, such as ensuring cigarettes are properly stubbed out, never leaving candles unattended, and having at least one working smoke alarm installed in your home.
London Fire Brigade provides simple, practical information and advice that can help minimise the risk of a fire occurring, including creating and practising an escape plan.
Home fire safety visits
London Fire Brigade offers free home fire safety visits for people and places where there is a heightened risk of fire, such as older people or those living with mental or physical impairments.
Never tackle a fire yourself
Never try and tackle a fire yourself – you could put your own life and others in danger.
If you live in a house or a flat that is part of a converted house, and there is a fire in your property, get out, stay out, and call 999.
If you live in a purpose-built flat or maisonette, London Fire Brigade has different advice that you should follow.
Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, we have been reviewing fire safety systems and procedures. Fire safety has always been a high priority for the council and all tower blocks have an up-to-date fire risk assessment in place.
Fire risk assessments are carried out every year on high-rise tower blocks, above five-storeys, while low-rise blocks are reviewed every three years. This is what the law currently states councils must do.
Following the fire in West London, we want to give our residents as much reassurance as possible about the fire safety of their home, by publishing summary fire risk assessments to demonstrate the steps we are taking to keep people safe.
Fire risk assessments
A fire risk assessment is similar to an MOT for a car. Just as an MOT assesses whether a car is fit for the road on the day it is tested, a fire risk assessment will provide a snapshot of the fire risks of a building on the day of the inspection.
Fire risk assessments are a legal requirement and must be carried out by fully accredited professionals.
The main aim of a fire risk assessment is to reduce the chances of someone getting injured if there is an incident.
What fire risk assessments check
Fire risk assessments only cover the communal area of a building not individual flats.
Some of the things covered by a fire risk assessment include:
- are communal areas kept clear?
- is there a fire alarm system in the building?
- are escape routes and exits well signposted?
A fire risk assessment is only a snapshot
Although fire risk assessments can provide helpful insight into any potential fire risks, they are not a complete evaluation of a building’s safety because situations can change that alter the fire risk of a building.
An example of a fire risk assessment
When a fire risk assessment is being carried out, the assessor may find a pram or bicycle blocking a communal hallway. This would be flagged in the fire risk assessment as a high risk; however, the obstruction can be easily resolved and the problem rectified by moving the pram or bicycle.
Similarly, a fire risk assessment may find no issues at the time it is carried out but something that would pose a fire risk, such as a bag of rubbish, may appear in the hallway after the inspection has been completed.
Summary fire risk assessments
Fire risk assessments are very detailed and contain a range of complex information that may not make any sense to people who don’t work in the industry.
To help you understand the fire risk assessment of a building, we have produced a one page summary fire risk assessment for each of our council housing properties.
This provides an at a glance overview of the full fire risk assessment, giving the fire risk rating of a building along with any actions identified as requiring attention.
The summary report is based on the full fire risk assessment carried out by Barking and Dagenham council assessors.
Fire Risk Assessment Review
Fire safety for our residents is a top priority for us. That’s why we’re exceeding the guidance set by the Local Government Association when it comes to making sure residents are protected from the risk and consequences of fire in their blocks.
Types of Fire Risk Assessments
There are four types of Fire Risk Assessments, as set out by the Local Government Association - Fire safety in purpose built flats.
A Type 1 Fire Risk Assessment is the basic assessment required for the purpose of satisfying the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
However, we are one of the very few councils in London to carry out a Type 3 Fire Risk Assessment:
- every three months for higher risk blocks (over five storeys in height,18 meters high and above)
- every year for low-risk, modern, low-rise blocks (a block of no more than five storeys above ground, built within the last 20 years
We also carry out Type 4 Fire Risk Assessments during the refurbishment of a number of our empty properties.